“Why are you giving me such a long explanation?” his wife asked after he spent several minutes explaining who he was meeting at Ultimate Defense, why he was meeting and what the meeting was about.
“Would you rather I say I was going to see a guy I met on the internet?” he responded.
This was one of the more amusing tidbits from an interesting meet-up between me and Taurus609, a commenter here on TTAG. Taurus609 had taken someone to task for supporting GOP candidates. These supposed conservatives had stood idly by and let our gun rights erode. I in turn took after what I perceived as a certain political nihilism. I felt guilty, learned he was a homeboy and asked if he’d like to go get a beer or something . . .
We settled on going shooting at a great range in St. Charles County. I needed to make sure a Springfield XD I sent back to the factory for soft-strike problems was working properly. Springfield had- and I quote – CLEANED OIL OUT OF STRIKER CHANNEL (this did resolve the issue).
Taurus609 was waiting when I showed up a few minutes late. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and went to shoot for a while. He has a clever trick of putting bright red spots on the back of the target, six or so, and using these as a point of aim. The little tip proved to be a great way to stretch a silhouette.
He’s a pretty good shot, and as is the custom, we took one another’s heaters for a spin. One firearm, a fine Taurus 609 replete with titanium slide, was very accurate in his own hand but like a hound dog would respond only to its master. I could not hit sh*t with it. No idea why, as I put in this group with Carmen, my Smith M&P Compact .40. [image]
After shooting, we took some time to talk about politics, which is effectively why we were even hanging out. I thought Taurus609 was a libertarian-type who was sick of both parties. Not all of my assumptions were correct.
Taurus609 is a self-described moderate. He does not vote party. Taurus609 heaped opprobrium upon Tea Party conservatives and our unwillingness to compromise. We spent some time discussing the hypocritical decisions of Glenn Beck aficionados with whom he is acquainted. He complained about religious conservatives wanting to push our morality off onto him. He criticized Fox News commentators like Sean Hannity.
He went on to compare conservative economic notions, less regulation, less government interference in health care – unfavorably to policies proscribed and enacted by Democrats. I do not recall in our conversation any criticism of Democrat positions, policies or proposals. He very well may, but among the big-ticket issues we discussed the rightward direction of the elements of the GOP (that were actually moving right) were the troublesome elements.
Taurus609 and I do not agree on most of these points, and by my reckoning he is a liberal, not a “moderate” which is, in my opinion a term meaning “I don’t want to be called a liberal”. Nevertheless, we do agree on the importance of the 2nd Amendment. He believes there ought to be a national concealed carry permit with requirements like those in Missouri. He believes that while there is a valid argument to be found in the “The 2nd Amendment is my carry permit” sentiment, this sort of “extreme” talk turns off moderates, dooming conservatives to electoral irrelevance.
I sent this posting to Taurus609 for his review. He was complimentary, and sent along this critique:
“…[Y]ou never mentioned anything about democratic ideals or what they had done to dismantle gun rights in the last decade or so, so believe me if we had talked about Democrats, you would have also heard an earful about them.”
“…[W]hen it comes to conservatives or should I say right-wing conservatives, your (and I don’t mean just you) stand is, if you’re not with me (on everything) then you’re against me. And that is the crux of the problem I was trying to relate. If it came off as just republican or tea party bashing, I’m sorry; it was not supposed to be that. If my feeling that you get more done with compromise makes me a liberal, then I guess it goes back to the old saying about, ‘it’s in the eyes of the beholder’ “
At the end of our visit, Taurus609 and I disagreed in the most agreeable terms. We met on common ground, found some philosophical parallels and agreed to part friends despite the gulf that remained. We disagree wildly about WHO is presenting the greatest threat the 2nd amendment in the political sphere and HOW to protect it. We do in fact agree on its importance.
Even with the objections noted, and other points made by Taurus609 in his response, I was not disabused of my view of his politics. Still, I look forward to shooting again, and shooting with him – Bullets and politics: what could possibly go wrong?
Politics has words like “campaign” because there is an inevitable conflict between two parties, even when they agree on the goal. For instance, if there were no conflict among gun owners, then the National Rifle Association would not have Gun Owners of America joining them on the field of battle.
Conflicts are resolved by victory or defeat. In any given election, at least 49% of the voters are going to be somewhat disappointed by the result. This is the world as it is. I think the stakes are higher, to be sure, than a Friday afternoon softball game. However, the reason we have a peaceful nation is that we know how to handle conflict and ground out the most destructive aspects of the will to win and the sting of loss. It is one of the greatest aspects of our national character to have such a grand body of gracious winners and graceful losers that sore-heads are so rare they are a source of entertainment.
Taurus609 is a good guy. He loves his family and loves his country. I am sure that if I needed his help, and it was within his reasonable power to help, I could count on it. A man like this need not be an enemy even as I work diligently to defeat each and every one of his preferred candidates. It is the simple things of community, a pleasant hour putting holes in targets or talking peacefully about controversial subjects that enrich life.
There is no reason on God’s green earth we cannot be friends.